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Authors





[caption id="attachment_217" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Maxim D. Shrayer"][/caption]

Maxim D. Shrayer (www.shrayer.com) is professor of Russian, English, and Jewish studies at Boston College. Among his books are Russian Poet/Soviet Jew and the literary memoir Waiting for America: A Story of Emigration. In 2007 Shrayer won the National Jewish Book Award for An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature.



Author's photo by Aaron Washington.






Maxim D. Shrayer in conversation with Marie Cloutier about his new book, the collection of stories YOM KIPPUR IN AMSTERDAM.



7 May 2010



1. “Yom Kippur in Amsterdam” is a collection of eight short stories

[caption id="attachment_216" align="alignright" width="140" caption="Yom Kippur in Amsterdam: Stories by Maxim D. Shrayer"][/caption]

about a diverse group of characters, people at different points in their lives and different settings, many of them on the verge of one transition or another. Can you elaborate some of the themes the stories share? How do these eight stories form a whole?



MDS: This sounds both alluring and mysterious. Thank you, Marie, for reading the collection. You’re right that the eight stories in Yom Kippur in Amsterdam aren’t connected by narrative threads. At the same time, thematic ropes and tethers of identity hold the collection together. Seven of the eight stories are set—and the eighth is presumably remembered and told—in Russian America. All the protagonists except one are Russian immigrants or their children. In these stories, I trace various obsessions and aspirations of Russian (Soviet) immigrants in America. There is humor and tenderness in the stories, and also heartbreak and nostalgia. There are boundaries of ethnicity, religion, and culture that my characters desperately try yet often fail to cross. The identities of my characters are overloaded (Jewish, Russian, Soviet, almost or partly American) and therefore unstable, volatile. It’s not simple or easy to generalize about one’s own book or one’s beloved characters. I think my new book offers a collective portrait of Jews in America struggling to come to terms with ghosts of their Russian and Soviet pasts.



2. What was it about these themes that intrigued you? What were you trying to work through or think about as you were writing?



MDS: As you know, there are about 750,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union living in North America, and about a million in Israel. It’s difficult to imagine the fabric of our communities without ex-Soviet Jews. And yet, our stories (or is it our story?) are only now entering the cultural mainstream. Several years ago, in my memoir Waiting for America, I wrote about Soviet Jews waiting in transit, in Austria and Italy, to become Americans. As I worked on the stories in Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, I kept asking myself: Why is it that in America Soviet Jews and their children have been so successful professionally (think, for instance, of the inventor of Google), and yet have not been fully integrated or acculturated as either Jews or Americans? In creating my characters, I wanted to get to the bottom of what it feels like to be constantly wrestling with the mix of prosperity, professional pride, cultural loneliness, and insecurity that defines the lives of many ex-Soviet Jews.



3. A the end of the title story, Jake, the protagonist, has what struck me as a near-mystical experience, this moment of "piercing clarity." What was this clarity? Does it come from within him, or from an external source? What prepares him (and us) for the change about to overtake him?



MDS: You’re absolutely correct that Jake Glaz undergoes a mystical experience while attending the Yom Kippur service at Amsterdam’s Portuguese synagogue. We should also remember that Glaz comes to Amsterdam in the aftermath of having broken up with his Catholic girlfriend Erin, who wouldn’t convert (he still has strong feelings for her). And let’s also keep in mind that upon arriving in Amsterdam (he stops there on the way home from Nice so as to avoid having to atone in flight), Jake Glaz visits the Red Light district and finds some answers to his dilemma of marriage and identity in a paid-for conversation with a part-German, part-Jewish prostitute. Since the experience Jake undergoes during the Yom Kippur service is a metaphysical one, his “clarity” is quite beyond words—either in his native Russian or his acquired English. It would be presumptuous for me to overinterpret in discursive terms what I have related in the story though a combination of metaphors and a lyrical digression.



I will tell you this much: Jake’s realization relieves him of some of his doubts about his own identity. Allow me to offer a brief quote from the scene (this is on p. 141 of the book): “Jake was no longer thinking of Yom Kippur, of Erin, of Jewishness and Christianity. Those matters he had already understood, if not fully resolved in his heart, and this knowledge comforted him. He arrived at a plan—in the streets of Amsterdam: he would return to Baltimore, where after seventeen years his immigrant family had rooted themselves; they had even brought back from Moscow and reburied the remains of his father's parents. In four years, when Jake turned forty, he would have lived in America for half his life. Leaving Russia at nineteen, he had carried with him on the plane baggage so heavy that it took him years to unload it and so lofty that there were still times he couldn't stand solidly on American ground. That first flight over the Atlantic was also a flight from all the demons, monsters, and sirens a Jew can never seem to escape.”



4. How does your book fit into the growing, and fascinating, body of fiction emerging from the post-Soviet landscape?



MDS: That’s certainly not for me to judge, Marie. Take a look at this very amusing flyer (attached). A colleague of mine found it in a blog devoted to things Russian, American and literary. As you can see, this list of younger writers (how young is younger—in the Soviet Union it was 35, sometimes even 40), includes 5 authors born in the former USSR and writing in English, 1 author born in the USSR and writing in both English and Russian, 1 American-born author of Turkish descent with Russian literary interests, and 1 American-born author (whose origins I honestly don’t know) who writes fictions about Russian characters. What do you make of such a category of writers “on notice”? I certainly agree that the Russian-American literary landscape is beginning to expand again. But people sometimes forget that the Russian presence in Anglo-American letters goes back to the 1800s, and also that we have yet to climb peak Lolita or to descend to the bottom of canyon Fountainhead.



5. Tapping your expertise as a scholar of Soviet and Jewish literature, what are some recent Jewish/Russian fiction and nonfiction that Judaica librarians might consider adding to their collections?



MDS: Volume 2 of Antony Polonsky’s The Jews in Poland and Russia is a must (it was just released), along with the previously published volume 1. It would also make me very happy if Judaica librarians got to know my Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature.



6. Would you be willing to share a personal memory about a library that helped shape you as a scholar and a writer?



MDS: In the spring of 1993 I spent almost two months in Prague gathering materials for what would eventually become my first book, The World of Nabokov’s Stories. I was renting a section in the house of Viktor Faktor, a vintage ’68 Czech dissident. Every morning I would have breakfast in an overflowing cherry orchard and then take a tram to the center of town. I would walk across the Charles Bridge and then disappear in the cloisters of the Slavonic Library. I was researching aspects of Russian émigré culture in then the recently opened holdings of what had remained of the Russian Historical Archive Abroad. Dr. Milena Klímová, at the time director of the Slavonic Library, introduced me to a saintly archivist by the name of Helena Musátova.


A Prague-born daughter of Russian émigrés, Ms. Musátova was herself a living legacy of the great interwar émigré culture which had been destroyed and dispersed by the fires of World War 2 and the Holocaust. With Ms. Musátova’s help, I was able to read though the complete runs of dozens of émigré newspapers and magazines. I made small discoveries. To the librarians at the Slavonic Library—and to other dedicated librarians with whom I’ve had the good fortune of working—I owe a debt of gratitude. So imagine, I would spend the day perusing the time-yellowed émigré publications, and then I would wander around Prague, coming onto vestiges of its Jewish and Russian past—now Kafka’s grave, now a cottage where Tsvetaeva had stayed in the 1920s. That “Prague spring” of research and discovery has influenced me profoundly, and I have yet to cast these impressions and memories into creative prose.



It’s a pleasure to talk to you, Marie. Good luck.



7 May 2010.



Maxim D. Shrayer’s answers copyright © Maxim D. Shrayer.

Posted in: Authors, Interview
On the last day of National Poetry Month, I have for you today an interview with Boston-area poet Ellen Steinbaum, Pushcart-nominated author of Container Gardening and Afterwords.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? Who or what influences your work? What poets do you love to read?
I have always been a writer. As a child I wrote a family newspaper (which was a little pathetic since I was an only child, so there wasn't much news, but I persisted). For much of my life I wrote magazine and newspaper articles and then later found myself drawn to the idea of what I could do with poetry that I couldn't do with prose.
Influences include my teacher, Ottone Riccio, and contemporary poets like Linda Pastan, Gail Mazur, Ruth Stone, Marie Ponsot, and Dorianne Laux who combine "the materials at hand"--details of daily life--with careful craft.

I also love the work of Galway Kinnell, W.S. Merwin, and Richard Wilbur who does rhyme so elegantly that it looks effortless. Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman--two very different poets whose work intrigues me. And the sound of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poems is so wonderful. Keats...Mark Doty...Wislawa Szymborska...Edward Hirsch. Yeats. Yehuda Amichai. Octavio Paz. So many--depends whose work I've read most recently. And two friends whose poetry I greatly admire and enjoy, Susan Donnelly and Patricia Smith.


2. What is your approach to or style of poetry? Do you think it's important to have a style or define yourself within a movement? Does it limit or expand what you can do?
Obviously, when you write poetry you're going to be aware of what other poets are doing and of the long tradition you are part of. But my concern is more on doing my own work than on figuring out where I fit in. I'm just concentrating on writing in an authentic voice and trying to make it as clear and true and precise as I can.



One thing I do want to mention is what I visualize as almost the collaboration between poet and reader. I know there are poets who feel that the poem exists only as they intend it to, but I don't entirely. I believe the poet has his or her intentions, but readers come to the poem with their own set of attitudes and experiences and so what the poem is varies a little from reader to reader. It becomes at some level a combination of the original intent and the received thing.

It's a huge gift to a poet to have readers willing to bring themselves fully and respectfully to the work. It's humbling. I am always grateful when readers tell me that my work has meant something to them.
3. Onto the poems themselves, which I loved. My favorite poem in Container Gardening is probably "Gathering," about using shells collected by speaker's aunt to mark her grave. Can you talk about some of the themes in this lovely poem?


Thank you! I am writing this, actually, on the birthday of that very dear aunt. Primarily what I was thinking about when I wrote that poem was how the small pieces of our lives that, at some point, have real meaning to us, get lost to ourselves and to others. They just melt away, the way we forget where the stones were from. We think we'll never forget this experience, and then we forget, though of course something of it remains with us. And when the stones and shells are someone else's, they show how impossible it is to really know another person's life. No matter how close you are to that person, there are always mysteries.
4. In the first poem, "Standing at the Shore," the moment described- people on the beach, children rooted but striving for freedom- starts as "soft"- "the same soft moment"; later, it's "that messy instant." Why the change? Is the moment soft and messy at the same time?


The softness, I guess, is the light just at dusk, the quiet on the beach, and everyone concentrating on standing there and looking good for the photograph. At least the adults are feeling that. But the children always have another agenda. While the adults are thinking about preserving the moment, the children are busy living it, squeezing the juice out of it.

But I hadn't actually thought about that before. (This is why I knew it would be fun to answer your questions--they make me think of new things about my work and about poetry in general.) What I was thinking about--or at least what I thought I was thinking about when I wrote this was time and impermanence, which is probably what I am often thinking about when I write.
5. In the first part of the book, dominant themes include loss, memory and history, and the poems are deeply personal. In the second, the tone is somewhat more political with mentions of wars, terrorism and allusions to first-world privilege; still, the poems are rooted in day to day life. In the third section, there's a hint of menace as we move from the past through the present and into the future- an idea that the future is a dark place. Can you talk about this progression? Is there optimism as well or is it all bad news?


I didn't think of it as menacing, but rather just as life with its certainty of pleasures and sorrows. When I named the book Container Gardening, I was thinking of how we construct our own little universes to live in. Partly they're private, built out of our own experiences. Partly they are touched by the larger world we live in, and that's where the political poems come in.


But then--and I guess this is that third section--we take those pieces and go forward with our lives into whatever happens next. And we hope that some of what happens will bring us joy. And we know that some of what will happen is bound to bring us sorrow, simply because we are mortal beings connected to other mortal beings. And all we can do, I think, is muddle through the best we can. There's a Jewish saying I read once about the idea that at the end of our days we will be called to account for every fruit we did not taste in its season. That is often in my mind and I hope that's what that third section is about, the sense that with all the certainty of sadness, we still can--must- notice the joy. As the last words of the last poem say, "rest within the wonder/of this gift."

Thank you so much for agreeing to participate! This interview was originally posted at the weblog Boston Bibliophile as a part of the National Poetry Month Blog Tour, hosted at Savvy Verse and Wit.
Visit Ellen at her site, www.EllenSteinbaum.com.

 











AJL Western Regional Conference on Jewish Literature for



Children:



Monsters and Miracles:




A Journey Through Jewish Picture Books



at the Skirball Cultural Center!





 


Celebrating the historical and cultural roots of the Jewish picture book with more than 100 original illustrations and texts from picture book classics and popular favorites. Featured authors and artists include Arnold Lobel, Daniel Pinkwater, Francine Prose, Maurice Sendak, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Lemony Snicket, Art Spiegelman, William Steig, Marc Chagall, and Ze'ev Raban.



 


 Conference Schedule:


  9 AM Registration. continental breakfast and introduction to the exhibit by curator Tal Gozani


10 AM Visit the exhibit


12 PM  Lunch at American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Dr.



(across the freeway from the Skirball)



1:15 PM Panel discussion with featured speakers and silent auction





2:45 PM Book sale and autographing by local authors; Tour of Ostrow Community Library



 


 

Featured speakers: Joni Sussman (publisher, KarBen Books), Richard Michelson, (Sydney Taylor Award Winner for As Good As Anybody), and


Eugene Yelchin, (illustrator and member of Jewish Artists Initiative)




e Manuscript consultations with Joni Sussman from KarBen Books available e


 


Sponsored by Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library, Association of Jewish Libraries, AJLSC,


and the Ostrow Community Library at the American Jewish University













 

 


 


For reservations and information call Susan Dubin at (818) 886-6415, send email to Lisa Silverman at lsilverman@sinaitemple.org  or return this to the address below:


 


Name___________________ Address_____________________________City/State/Zip_______________


Phone ___________________ Email___________________________ Institution____________________


 


______ $55 (includes lunch)    ______ AJL member $45 (includes lunch)      ____ $45 Manuscript consult  


               


Make check payable to Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library


Mail to:


Jewish Literature for Children Conference


Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library          


   10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024










Contact us for information regarding student or group discounts.











BJE CREDIT AVAILABLE




 

On our final day of the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, we wrap up with two great interviews.

A Faraway Island is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers category. Read an interview with author Annika Thor at The Little Book Room with blogger Nancy Silverrod (NOT at Nancy's Teen Reads blog, which was originally listed on the schedule - apologies for the error!).

Here's a teaser:

Nancy: Of the many stories you could have written about the Swedish rescue of Jews during the war, what inspired you to write this particular story?

Annika: Quite a few of the Jews who were rescued from the concentration camps have written down their own memories, in the form of autobiographies or fictional stories. I feel that these stories should be told by the people who experienced them, because they are beyond the imagination of us who did not. In contrast, very little had been written by or about the children who came with the Kindertransport before the war until I started to work on this theme (a doctoral theses on the subject was published in the same year as my first book, 1996), and I felt that the experiences that they went through are in a sense more universal and more suitable to interpret for someone with a different background.

Read more...

The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children is a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for All Ages. Read an interview with author Ellen Frankel at Deo Writer with blogger Jone MacCulloch.

Here's a teaser:

Jone: How did you select which stories to include? (I’m glad you included one of my favorites, “Jonah and the Whale”!) Is there a story you didn’t include and now wish it was in the book?

Ellen: It was hard to limit which stories to include in the volume, but I knew that this couldn’t be a fat book. Children’s hands had to be able to carry it and balance it on their laps. I also understood that there is much in the Hebrew Bible that is not narrative: poetry, prophecy, songs, psalms, genealogies, legal material, ritual and priestly material, wisdom literature, and folklore. I left all that out. And I did leave out some stories as being too violent, sexually explicit, complicated, or not especially dramatic. Although I think that the decision to leave out “The Rape of Dinah,” “Judah and Tamar,” and “Jephthah’s Daughter” was the right one, I wonder whether we underestimate our children’s ability to deal with such brutal realities. After all, they see and read about rapes, sexual intrigues, and domestic violence every day on television, the internet, and the news.

Read more...

Thanks so much to all the bloggers, authors, and illustrators who participated in the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! Keep an eye on the AJL blog People of the Books, the AJL Facebook page, or the AJL Twitter feed for announcements about more Jewish literary awards. And keep an eye on the Jewish Books for Children blog hosted by Sydney Taylor Book Award committee chair Barbara Bietz, where other Sydney Taylor related authors may be interviewed in the future.
Posted in: Authors, Awards
Benjamin and the Silver Goblet is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Jacqueline Jules at ASHarmony with blogger Elizabeth Lipp.

Here's a teaser:

Elizabeth: What challenges do you face as a writer? Meaning: what are those things that stand in your way when you have a particular idea you want to get across?

Jacqueline: It can often take a very long time to get a story or an idea right. I often think of my first drafts as caterpillars, crawling creatures hungrily nibbling on leaves. Sometimes those first drafts need to spend months or years in the cocoon stage until they emerge as wet butterflies, ready to learn how to fly. Every time I re-write a story or a poem, I am more pleased with it. I enjoy the process of rearranging words to tell the same story in a better way. However, it can also be discouraging to re-write something for years and years, hoping that this time it will connect with an editor and have the opportunity to find readers.

Read more...

The illustrator for Benjamin and the Silver Goblet is Natascia Ugliano. You can read a profile of this artist, and an interview about Natascia's work with Joanna Sussman of Kar-Ben Publishing on The Book of Life with blogger Heidi Estrin.

Here's a teaser:
Heidi: Can you reveal any behind-the-scenes secrets about Natascia's art?

Joanna: We’re just completing work on the most recent title in this Bible series Miriam in the Desert,(coming Fall 2010) the story of Miriam’s leading the people through the wilderness and the introduction of the boy Bezalel, who becomes the artist who crafts the Holy Ark. The tricky part in working with the art for this story was deciding how the Ark should look because, of course, nobody knows what the original Ark of the Covenant looked like – was it plain or elaborate? Did it look like the one in the Indiana Jones movie? How big was it in proportion to the people? Both we and Natascia did a fair amount of research and we went back and forth on several designs before deciding on one that we thought would work.

Read more...

Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Deborah Bodin Cohen at Ima on (and off) the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting with blogger Phyllis Sommer. This blog is also sponsoring a giveaway! Win a copy of the book by leaving a comment before February 7!

Here's a teaser:
Phyllis: What inspired you to write Nachshon's story?

Deborah: The Midrash of Nachshon – the first Israelite to have faith to walk into the Red Sea – has always spoken to me. Because of the Nachshon’s courage, God splits the Red Sea and the Israelites walk to freedom. The Torah mentions Nachshon ben Aminadav only a couple of times. Rabbinic creativity filled in the gaps in the Biblical text and the wonderful, classic Midrash of Nachshon was born. I love the lessons of Nachshon’s story: the power of one person to make a difference, having faith in face of adversity and taking risks for the benefit of the community.

Read more...

The illustrator for Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim is Jago. You can read an interview with him at Jewish Books for Children with blogger (and Sydney Taylor Book Award committee chair) Barbara Bietz.

Here's a teaser:
Barbara: What was the most interesting thing you learned in the process of working on Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim ?

Jago: That I quite like illustrating horses! I've always avoided them before as they're complicated to get right, but with the Pharaoh's army riding chariots there was no getting away from them. Once I'd figured them out I quite enjoyed drawing them and now I don't avoid them any more!

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for the final day of the Blog Tour! You'll see an interview with Annika Thor (author, A Faraway Island) at Teen Reads, and an interview with Ellen Frankel (author, The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children) at Deo Writer.
Posted in: Authors, Awards
The Sydney Taylor Book Award 2010 Blog Tour begins today with three stops covering two of our gold medalists.

New Year at the Pier is the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist in the Younger Readers category.

Read an interview with April Halprin Wayland (and watch a book trailer!) at Practically Paradise with blogger Diane R. Chen.

Here's a teaser:
Diane: Many teachers seem to ignore Rosh Hashanah and concentrate on incorporating Hanukkah into the curriculum in December. What advice would you offer them?

April: I’m sure that’s true for most teachers in non-Jewish schools. Many don’t realize that Hanukah, a relatively minor holiday, has been elevated by our culture to compete with Christmas. So it’s about educating our teachers.
One year, my nephew’s school district scheduled a major test on Rosh Hashanah, while he was out of school. Oy!

Read more...

Stéphane Jorisch is the illustrator of New Year at the Pier. A profile of Stéphane appears today at Frume Sarah's World with blogger Rebecca Einstein Schorr.

Here's a teaser:
I have often wondered how an artist takes an image, real or imagined, and recreates it. Is it necessary, for example, to refer often to a photograph in order to capture every finite detail? Once he starts to draw, Stéphane’s approach is to rely on his memory rather than reference materials. This freedom enables a more fluid hand. And his inspiration? His inspiration comes from everyday things, daydreams, and time spent delayed in traffic.

Read more...

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba is the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist in the Teen Readers category. Read an interview with author Margarita Engle at bookstogether with blogger Anamaria Anderson.
Here's a teaser:

Anamaria: The fictional characters of Tropical Secrets—Daniel, Paloma, David, and el Gordo—bring these unfamiliar historical events to life for your readers. When did your characters, and their personal stories, begin to reveal themselves to you?

Margarita: The characters and plot of Tropical Secrets came to me in a huge wave. It was overwhelming. I could barely scribble fast enough to keep up with the flow of words. It was as if this story had been waiting to be told, and was searching for a home.

My mother is Cuban, and was raised Catholic. My father is the American son of Ukrainian-Jewish refugees. Tropical Secrets unites the diverse branches of my ancestry.

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Robin Friedman (The Importance of Wings) at Bildungsroman, Jacqueline Davies (Lost) at Biblio File, and Jonah Winter (You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?) at Get in the Game: Read!
Posted in: Authors, Awards
The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be celebrating and showcasing its 2010 gold and silver medalists and special Notable Book for All Ages with a Blog Tour, February 1-5, 2010! (A blog tour is like a virtual book tour. Instead of going to a library or bookstore to see an author speak, you go to a website on or after the advertised date to read an author's interview.) Here is a celebratory video for your enjoyment, and the schedule for the Blog Tour is posted below.




MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2010



Monday, February 1, 2010
April Halprin Wayland, author of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Practically Paradise



Monday, February 1, 2010
Stephane Jorisch, illustrator of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Frume Sarah's World



Monday, February 1, 2010
Margarita Engle, author of Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at bookstogether



TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2010



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Robin Friedman, author of The Importance of Wings
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Little Willow's Bildungsroman



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Jacqueline Davies, author of Lost
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at Biblio File



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Jonah Winter, author of You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Get in the Game: Read! and cross-posted at Examiner.com



WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2010



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Elka Weber, author of The Yankee at the Seder
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at BewilderBlog



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Adam Gustavson, illustrator of The Yankee at the Seder
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Great Kids Books



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Judy Vida, daughter of the late Selma Kritzer Silverberg, author of Naomi's Song
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at The Book Nosher




THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2010




Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jacqueline Jules, author of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at ASHarmony



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Natascia Ugliano, illustrator of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at The Book of Life



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Deborah Bodin Cohen, author of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Ima On and Off the Bima



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jago, illustrator of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Jewish Books for Children



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2010



Friday, February 5, 2010
Annika Thor, author of A Faraway Island
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at The Little Book Room



Friday, February 5, 2010
Ellen Frankel, author of The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children
Sydney Taylor Notable Book for All Ages
at Deo Writer

Posted in: Authors, Awards

NEW MEMBERS APPOINTED TO THE SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD COMMITTEE


Kathe Pinchuck, Chair


Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee


 


 


The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee appointed three new members.  Their four-year terms will begin in January 2010. The committee benefits from the diverse membership of AJL, and with the unique talents and experience of the incoming members, we are confident the high standards of the committee will continue.


 


 


 


Debbie Feder is the Director of the Library Resource Center at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago. An active member of the Chicago AJL Chapter, Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and earned her MLS from Dominican University. Debbie, who also worked at the Skokie Public Library, is a lover of children’s literature, first enthralled by All-of-a-Kind-Family.


 


Aimee Lurie comes to the committee with experience in a variety of Jewish libraries, including the Temple-Tifereth Israel, the Fairmount Temple and the Agnon School, as well as public libraries. Amy has reviewed books for the AJL Newsletter and VOYA and feels that “reviewing books is every librarian’s professional responsibility and it has always played a critical role in my personal professional development.  Not only does it play an invaluable role in collection development, I have found it is the best way to keep your finger on the pulse of publishing trends.” Aimee is active in the Cleveland chapter of AJL and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Ohio State and an MLS from Kent State University.


 


Nancy Silverrod is a librarian at San Francisco Public Library. Nancy graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Michigan University and earned her MILS at the University of Michigan. Nancy states that “My reading over the years led me to a deeper connection and involvement with Judaism, and the opportunity to recommend high quality books to interested readers is one of the things I most enjoy about my work” – a great combination.


 


 


Barbara Bietz of Oak Park, California will assume the chairmanship. She is the author of Like a Maccabee (Yaldah Publishing, 2006).  As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in numerous publications, and she is a frequent reviewer for Jewish Book World and the AJL Newsletter. 


 


 


The 2009-2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee will also include Debbie Colodny (Libertyville, Illinois), Rita Soltan (West Bloomfield, Michigan); Kathe Pinchuck (Clifton, New Jersey), past chair; and Rachel Kamin (Chicago, Illinois), compiler. Heidi Estrin (Boca Raton, Florida) will assist the committee as AJL Public Relations Liason.


 


Tremendous Harkaras Hatov (appreciation) to Susan Berson (Denver, Colorado and Kathy Bloomfield (Wellesley, Massachusetts)  who have served their four-year terms on the committee with distinction.  



Posted for Kathe Pinchuk, outgoing Chair by


Susan Dubin


AJL President

Posted in: Authors, Awards

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